Hercules on Trial
|"Hercules on Trial"|
|Hercules: The Legendary Journeys episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4
|Directed by||John Laing|
|Written by||Robert Bielak|
|Original air date||January 19, 1998|
"Hercules on Trial" is the tenth episode of the fourth season of the television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
When a man impersonating Hercules is killed doing a good deed, Hercules is put on trial for encouraging ordinary people to risk their lives to help others in need.
A harmless lunatic believing himself to be Hercules comes to the aid of a woman whose children have become trapped in a mine. Hercules and Iolaus chance upon the people waiting outside the mine. Iolaus inquires about what is happening and one man informs them that Hercules is helping to rescue the children trapped in the mine. Hercules and Iolaus then rush into the mine to help. Iolaus helps to get the children out of the mine, as Hercules tries to save the innocent madman, the man is crushed under the mine's falling roof. While Iolaus informs people that the man they thought was Hercules was not actually him, a man named Turgeus enters the tavern stating that Hercules is under arrest for the death of the man, Kazankis.
Hercules protests that there has been a mistake, but the prosecutor states that he is responsible for Kazankis' death. They take Hercules and lock him up as they await his trial. Iolaus protests that the prosecutor cannot arrest a hero. At the hearing the prosecutor reads the offences Hercules has been charged with, Hercules denies all of them. The prosecutor, Spencius, tells Hercules he encourages people to act like him, and thus is responsible for Kazankis' death. The wife of Kazankis reveals that Kazankis changed after he met Hercules ad one day he left the farm to go out and do good deeds, leaving her and their two children with no crops to harvest. With this information, Hercules is told that the charges stand and the trial will begin in one week's time.
As the trial is underway, several people testify as to how Hercules affected and influenced their lives. After hearing peoples stories, Hercules begins doubting himself and his way of life. Iolaus tries to convince him that what he does is good and that he is a good influence on people. Dirce, Hercules' lawyer, tells the two men they need to find people that Hercules has helped to testify for him. One of the people they find is Cassandra, who Hercules had rescued from the sunken island of Atlantis. She testifies that Hercules saved her life. Even after this character witness, Hercules remains in jail. He tells Dirce that he wants to stand in the witness circle and explain himself.
Hercules explains to the court that the hearing has been about the choices he has made and not about the choice that Kazankis made, and that he wishes he could have saved his life. He says that making him responsible for Kazankis' actions "takes away from the greatest, most selfless act a human is capable of. Sacrificing one's life for another." Hercules says that Kazankis made his own heroic choices and that they should honor him for doing so. Dirce calls the inventor, Daedalus to defend Hercules' actions. He tells the court that Hercules is the best friend a man could have, and that when he began helping an evil man by making weapons for him, Hercules was able to make him see that he had been blinded by grief at the death of his son, Icarus. Spencius suggests that Hercules is responsible for the death of Icarus because he encouraged the boy to follow his dreams.
Hercules again begins to wonder if he is responsible for this death by encouraging people to live up to his standards. Back in the cells, Ares appears to Hercules and tells him that his life could be so much easier. Ares suggests that the two of them could make a good team, but Hercules rejects the idea. After a discussion between Iolaus and Dirce, she reveals to Hercules that Ioalus will testify for the prosecution. Spencius declares that there is no place for heroes in the modern, civilized world. Hercules pleads his case and Spencius suggests that the death of his own family is a good example of Hercules' dangerousness.
A woman comes looking for Iolaus and Hercules, telling Iolaus that a man named Mong is rampaging their village. Hercules says he cannot break out of jail, because he promised he would remain until his trial is completed. Ares appears to Hercules again and shows him the war that is happening in the town of Plathos, Hercules says the court will free him and he will see Ares in Plathos. Ares laughs and vanishes. As Mong trashes the village, Hercules arrives and finds out that Mong had toothache and wanted someone to help him. Hercules punches him, causing his tooth to come out and Hercules returns to the court for the remainder of his trial.
At the court, Hercules says that he bends the law when his heart tells him it is unjust and that he does try to inspire others to be everything they are capable of being. Hercules says people need heroes, "to set a higher standard others can aspire to", and if he is guilty of that, then he is proud of it. He tells the court they can sentence him but he will not stop doing what is right because, "my heart won't allow it." As he tells the court they should take him, Iolaus says, "Take me, I am Hercules", because he thinks like Hercules and tries to be like him, with this the other people who testified in Hercules' name say they too are Hercules, with Kazankis' wife saying that she, too is Hercules. The judge of the court stops the people, stands up and declares, "I am Hercules. Case dismissed." With Hercules free from jail, Kazankis' wife apologizes for what had happened, but that he is right that the world needs more heroes. She says her children now have two heroes to look up to, Hercules and their father.
References to popular culture
During a conversation with Hercules, Iolaus references Archimedes' discovery of the principle of water displacement.